What if the kitchen could take the guesswork out of cooking? That’s the goal with Innit, a new technology designed to help people manage and prepare their food. With the help of next-generation smart appliances, Innit can identify what’s in the refrigerator, suggest recipes and even demonstrate cooking techniques to yield chef-level cuisine at home.
After years of development, Innit’s team began consumer trials this year. New Hope caught up with CEO and cofounder Kevin Brown to learn more about this cutting-edge tool.
When did you first begin conceptualizing and developing Innit, and why?
Kevin Brown: Work on Innit started in 2012, and we operated in "stealth mode" for three years until our launch and funding announcement at the Smart Kitchen Summit in November 2015. Since then, we have made several announcements concerning partnerships and funding. The initial concept for Innit was the result of extensive experience in the food, consumer goods and technology industries, which spurred the idea that we could use technology to unlock the valuable information contained within food, and make it available to consumers and thus empower them to eat and live better.
How exactly does Innit work?
KB: Innit's unique technology helps connect food to smart appliances, to seamlessly empower users in managing and preparing food. Our food recognition technology identifies the food you have, provides detailed food information about the items you have selected and helps select recipes matched to your food and preferences. Our "machine readable" recipes provide detailed, easy-to-use instructions that help you learn as you cook with handy video tutorials, and instructions can be sent to your Wi-Fi-connected oven to cook the food automatically with expert results. As you can imagine, we are working to develop new features that will enhance the experience, addressing consumer needs for simplicity, convenience, personalization, waste reduction and more.
What do your consumer trials entail, and how is it going?
KB: We are demonstrating and testing our dynamic cooking with professionals in related industries and with consumers through a series of events both in our laboratory and thanks to the agreement we have with Pirch, in their SoHo store in New York. Reactions to date have been outstanding, with the standard evolution covering the range of curiosity through disbelief to doubt, to astonishment at the actual results when they actually taste the food we have cooked for them. We've had celebrity chefs ask us for permission to take the roast chicken leftovers home with them, and pork rib connoisseurs from the South tell us they have never tasted ribs that good.
Is there a role for natural foods retailers? How can they be a part of your mission?
KB: There is clearly a role for natural foods retailers to work with Innit. We have identified personalization as a key consumer concern, with many consumers looking for a way to tailor the food they eat to their individual food preferences and needs. Our vision is to empower people to eat and live better, and natural foods can play a major role in living better. As the kitchen gets more connected, there's a great opportunity to connect the shopping experience. For consumers, this is all part of the journey in getting dinner ready.
How soon do you anticipate Innit will be available to the public?
KB: We are working with partners to bring Innit-empowered solutions to market in 2017. The future of food is connected.